Agenda Item No. 6
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Community Liaison Committee: 20th October, 2015
Report of the Managing Director
Reshaping Services Programme and Town and Community Councils Project Team Update
Purpose of the Report
- To update the Community Liaison Committee and representatives of Town and Community Councils (TCCs) on the Council's Reshaping Services Programme and the work being progressed by the Town and Community Councils Project Team.
- That the contents of the report be noted.
- That updates on the work being undertaken as part of the Council's Reshaping Services Programme and the Town and Community Councils Project continue to be presented to the Committee on a quarterly basis.
- That Committee Members liaise with their respective Councils to ensure the information relating to current services and services of potential interest is complete and accurate.
- That this report be circulated to all Members of the Vale of Glamorgan Council for their information.
Reasons for the Recommendations
- To inform and update Members of the Community Liaison Committee.
- To apprise Committee of progress.
- To ensure an accurate and complete record of current services and services of potential interest.
- To apprise all Members of the Council of progress being made on the TCC Project.
- On 3rd November 2014, Cabinet approved the Reshaping Services Strategy that had been developed following a programme of consultation and engagement with key stakeholder groups, including Vale Council Members and this Committee.
- As reported previously, the Reshaping Services strategy is the Council's proactive response to central government's austerity drive that has created a period of unprecedented financial pressure in the public sector. The Reshaping Services Strategy provides a framework for the Council to work within for the next three to five years.
- During the course of the Programme, update reports are made to various stakeholders, including the Local Service Board, Community Liaison Committee and the Voluntary Sector Joint Liaison Committee. Since approval of the Programme, the Community Liaison Committee has received update reports at its meetings on 17th September 2014, 19th November 2014, 27th January 2015 and 2nd June 2015. "Updates on the Reshaping Services Programme" is to also be a standing item on the Community Liaison Committee agenda.
- The systematic review of Council services undertaken in 2014 as part of a "challenge process" and through consultation undertaken with TCCs and the voluntary sector identified that there is potential for the Vale of Glamorgan Council to work more closely with TCCs. The Council recognises that TCCs have an important role in representing highly local communities and could play an important role in informing the development of the Reshaping Services agenda. Cabinet recognised that there is much preparatory work required to investigate the possibilities that exist for the Council to work with TCCs and to develop the already positive relationships that exist with these organisations. For this reason, a specific corporate project has been established to progress work in this area.
- The Project Team for TCCs consists of representatives from various Directorates within the Council from service areas such as Estates, Accounts, Legal Services, Public Relations, Business Improvement and can call upon representatives from any of the service areas for advice and support. The Programme Board also recommended that a representative from One Voice Wales be invited to attend meetings of the Project Team and Mr. P. Egan was confirmed as the representative. Councillor M. Cuddy (Penarth Town Council) was appointed to the Programme Board to represent the views of TCCs and he also currently attends meetings of the Project Team. These appointments were confirmed at the Community Liaison Committee meeting on 2nd June, 2015.
- The TCC Project has initially sought to focus on the development of relationships, to gain a greater understanding about the mechanisms (such as Community Asset Transfers) involved in this area and to identify what services are currently provided by TCCs in the Vale of Glamorgan and the level of potential interest in providing other services. Work will then progress to develop specific proposals, for which savings targets will be established.
- This report provides the Committee with an update on the progress to date by the TCC Project and the overall Reshaping Services Programme.
Relevant Issues and Options
Expressions of Interest: Information Received from TCCs
- In order to identify the services currently being provided by TCCs and their potential interest in other services (including in partnership with other TCCs/sectors), the Project Team issued an expressions of interest form to all TCCs asking for information.
- Out of the 26 expressions of interest forms circulated, 23 responses were received. Of these:
- 15 TCCs indicated their interest in progressing discussions about their potential interest in other services.
- 8 Community Councils from the rural Vale have indicated that they do not wish to provide other services (some have indicated that they would consider exploring possible clustering arrangements).
- 15 TCCs indicated that they were interested in potential clustering arrangements.
- Appendix A provides a summary of the services that are currently provided by TCCs.
- Appendix B provides a summary of the services that TCCs have indicated that they are potentially interested in providing and would wish to discuss further.
- Following requests from a number of TCCs for further information, an A-Z list of Vale Council services has been produced and distributed to all TCCs together with a list of Vale assets within individual TCC areas.
Expressions of Interest: Clustering Arrangements
- The response to the expression of interest request indicated that 15 TCCs were interested in potential clustering arrangements. Clustering arrangements are where two or more TCCs work together to provide a service, deliver a project or in the operation of an asset. Clustering arrangements can vary in size from a single service, project or asset to a wider range of services and assets whilst at the same time maintaining their separate organisations.
- In order to provide further information relating to the concept of clustering arrangements, to learn from experiences elsewhere in the UK and to begin to discuss how these arrangements could potentially work in the Vale of Glamorgan, a seminar was held on 30th September 2015. TCCs who had expressed an interest in clustering arrangements were invited to attend.
- The seminar was opened by the Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council who provided an overview of the Reshaping Services Programme. The seminar also included a presentation by the Chief Executive of One Voice Wales which provided examples of such arrangements and the considerations and challenges involved in setting up and managing a cluster. Councillor Mike Cuddy (Penarth Town Council and TCC Representative) facilitated a very useful discussion on the implications on clustering and how delegates would like to see clustering (and the wider TCC project) progress. A colleague from the Council's Creative Rural Communities Team provided delegates with information relating to European Union Funding sources that may provide useful funds that could be used to develop ideas for new service delivery approaches in designated rural wards. The Council's Head of Performance and Development provided delegates with an overview of how the project would now be taken forward.
- At the clustering seminar, delegates requested that the Vale of Glamorgan Council devise a clustering information pack to include advice, guidance and example templates (relating to Memoranda of Understanding etc.) that could then be used by TCCs who may wish to further develop clustering arrangements in the Vale of Glamorgan.
- In order to progress discussions further, delegates expressed a desire for the Vale of Glamorgan Council to provide details of those services / assets it would specifically wish TCCs to consider, for example if there were proposals to change the way in which certain services are provided. It was discussed that the Council had initially taken the view that it would like TCCs to consider services of particular interest in their area and this was the reason for the "open" expression of interest process; it was acknowledged, however, that TCC interest would also be informed by any Vale of Glamorgan Council plans for services.
- Delegates also suggested that it would be useful for the Council to distribute the information received from all TCCs as part of the Expression of Interest process to members of the Community Liaison Committee. This information is contained in Appendices A and B to this report. It was suggested that in terms of services currently provided by TCCs, details should be given of where these services are provided jointly by TCCs working with voluntary (third) sector partners as this approach was successfully working in the Vale and elsewhere and it was felt there was further opportunity to further develop such arrangements.
- In order to ensure that all TCCs are kept updated on these developments, a copy of the materials notes from the session will be forwarded to all TCC Clerks for dissemination to their Council Members for their information.
- Those attending the seminar indicated that they felt the session had been a useful one and would welcome future events of this type being arranged for all TCCs to discuss issues and to share / receive information and experiences.
Expressions of Interest: Next Steps
- Based on the information contained in Appendices A and B and the A-Z list of services, all TCCs are requested to advise Mrs. Karen Bowen, the designated Community Liaison Officer, of any amendments or additions to their Expressions of Interest to ensure this information is complete and accurate (either by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone: 01446 70985).
- The Council will liaise with the Glamorgan Voluntary Service to identify services in TCC areas that are jointly provided by TCCs and voluntary (third) sector organisations which can then be reviewed by TCCs.
- Following consideration of the information contained in the expressions of interest, a schedule of meetings will now commence for officer representatives from the Vale Council and the voluntary sector to meet on an individual basis with TCCs who have indicated a wish to pursue discussions on potentially delivering services.
- The Vale Council will seek to provide timely information relating to those services or assets it would specifically wish TCCs to consider, for example if there are plans to change the way in which services are to be delivered in the future.
- As advised, each TCC has been provided with a list of Council owned assets in their area. Should TCCs wish to pursue discussions relating to any of these assets, they are requested to approach the Council and discussions can be arranged (either separately or as part of discussions on potential service delivery opportunities).
- The Vale Council will begin work on the clustering information pack and report back to this Committee on progress in due course.
- Following provision of the materials from the clustering seminar, TCCs are requested to consider themselves whether they wish to pursue potential clustering opportunities and to let the Vale Council know if they would wish the Council to assist in developing any specific proposals.
Other TCC Project Updates
- The Project Team have continued to identify the work that is currently on-going with TCCs in order to inform the development of the project and learn any relevant lessons. Two initiatives have been identified which have included:
- Library Services: A briefing in respect of the Library Review detailed lessons learned to date and their work with TCCs and Community Groups. The forward plan utilised in the process was considered to be a useful template which could be used for the TCC Project. The forward plan involved the development of community asset transfer models, SLAs, legal agreements, provision of support for community groups in the form of a peripatetic librarian, engagement with interested parties and regular progress reviews to establish sustainability.
- Play schemes: Play schemes are being provided in various parts of the Vale in conjunction with TCCs during the summer school holidays. Initial feedback has outlined the success of the initiative. The Project Team will work with colleagues in the Play Team to evaluate these schemes, including obtaining detailed feedback is obtained from the TCCs involved and from parents on the service. This will offer an important opportunity to promote the good work being done by TCCs in partnership with the Vale Council in order to encourage further take up of this initiative.
- The Creative Rural Communities (CRC) team have also acted as a "critical friend" to the TCC project in order to identify links with the CRC programme and make use of their knowledge and experience. Following initial discussions with some TCC Clerks, the following issues had been identified as relevant to TCCs within the Vale:
- The level of responsibility varied between TCCs
- The full cost implications of taking on added responsibilities needed to be clarified as early on as possible within the process
- Responsibility for some services was unlikely to be welcomed by TCCs
- Consideration of the time needed to take decisions at local level was raised as the Clerk had no delegated powers and the governance of TCCs meant that decisions take longer
- Early budget planning means that TCC budgets are set up until 2017 and there was little scope to introduce changes relating to either service delivery or asset transfers
- Closer liaison between Clerks should take place before any changes are implemented
- Service and assets should be considered as a package where appropriate
- Restrictions on powers and duties and the legal framework the TCCs are required to work within needed to be clearly understood
- Other partnerships and service delivery methods should be explored i.e. clustering of services was a possibility
- The Vale Council needed a better understanding of the services delivered and responsibilities held currently by TCCs. The Expression of Interest Form reflected this view.
- CRC also provided a report which recommended that Cornwall Council's Framework be explored further with a view informing the TCC project. Cornwall's model identifies six options for increased local involvement covered under the following headings:
- Influencing and monitoring local service delivery - by requesting changes to existing contracts held by the Vale or having an input into requirements when new contracts are tendered.
- Joint delivery / service enhancement.
- Agency agreements, Management Agreements, Licences and sponsorship.
- Delegation of service delivery.
- Transfer of a service.
- Services not generally available - the Council lists services it does not intend to transfer and states the reasons why.
- Underpinning the Cornwall Framework was also the commitment by the Vale Council to offer continued support and training.
- The CRC report also highlighted the number of delivery models that currently existed with third and private sector partnerships with TCCs and the availability of funding under the EU LEADER programme. Information on the LEADER development fund will be provided to the Community Liaison Committee at the meeting under a separate agenda item.
Reshaping Services Programme Update
- The TCC Project forms part of the Council's corporate transformational change programme, Reshaping Services. A Programme Board oversees the operational delivery of the programme and is chaired by the Managing Director and attended by the Leader of the Council, Senior Council Officers. TCCs are represented on the Programme Board by Councillor Mike Cuddy (Penarth Town Council). The Programme Board meets monthly to receive updates on the programme's progress. A report on the progress made by all projects is presented at each meeting, the most recent version of which can be found in Appendix C.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
- None as a direct result of this report.
- The Reshaping Services Programme is the Council's proactive response to central government's austerity drive which has placed unprecedented financial pressures on the public sector. The Reshaping Services programme has a target of saving £13million between 2015/16 and 2017/18.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
- None as a direct result of this report. The Reshaping Services programme aims to reshape the Council to enable it to meet the future needs of citizens of the Vale of Glamorgan within the context of unprecedented financial challenges.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
- None as a direct result of this report. Any legal implications will be considered as part of any specific projects progressed under the Reshaping Services Programme.
Crime and Disorder Implications
- None as a direct result of this report. These will be considered as part of any specific project progressed under the Reshaping Services Programme.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
- None as a direct result of this report. These will be considered as part of any specific project progressed under the Reshaping Services Programme.
- The Council's Corporate Plan for 2013-17 provides the overall set of objectives within which the Change Programme operates.
Policy Framework and Budget
- This is a matter for Executive decision by Cabinet.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
- This is a corporate issue which does not require specific Ward Member consultation. It is recommended that this report is provided to all Members for information.
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
- Corporate Resources.
Reshaping Services - A New Change Programme for the Council (Cabinet, 26th January 2015)
Karen Bowen, Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer
Tel: (01446) 709856
Huw Isaac, Head of Performance & Development
Tom Bowring, Operational Manager Performance & Policy
Rob Thomas, Managing Director